Moscow Grand Prix R03: Plenty of Excitement!

by Alejandro Ramirez
5/14/2017 – The players came to round three with their fighting spirit reignited. Five decisive results and many hard fought games were seen in today's round in Mocsow. The most important for the standings, Ding Liren beat his compatriot, Hou Yifan, to take the early lead. He is followed by three of today's winners: Svidler, Salem and Mamedyarov. Results, analysis and interviews here...

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The time control in the GP tournaments is 100 minutes for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes for the rest of the game plus an additional 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

The Grand Prix returns to the Telegraph Building in central Moscow, which previously hosted the 2016 Candidates Tournament won by Sergey Karjakin of Russia.

The tournament, a nine round Swiss contest, is the second of four Grand Prix in 2017 and follow’s the Sharjah Grand Prix in February which was won by Alexander Grischuk, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov in a three way tie.

The Moscow Grand Prix is sponsored by Kaspersky Lab, PhosAgro and EG Capital Partners.

Each round starts at 2PM (GMT +3).

Round 3 on 2017/05/13 at 14:00

Bo. Name FED Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Name FED Rtg
1 Hou Yifan CHN 2652 0 - 1 Ding Liren CHN 2773
2 Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2795 1 ½ - ½ 1 Gelfand Boris ISR 2724
3 Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2696 1 ½ - ½ 1 Nakamura Hikaru USA 2786
4 Giri Anish NED 2785 1 ½ - ½ 1 Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2710
5 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2772 1 1 - 0 1 Adams Michael ENG 2747
6 Harikrishna P. IND 2750 1 0 - 1 1 Svidler Peter RUS 2755
7 Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2751 1 0 - 1 1 Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2633
8 Radjabov Teimour AZE 2710 1 ½ - ½ 1 Grischuk Alexander RUS 2750
9 Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2727 ½ 0 - 1 ½ Hammer Jon Ludvig NOR 2621

All photos by Max Avdeev

The players have woken up in Moscow! A series of decisive games have left clear winners, and clear losers, in Russia.

Action packed today in Moscow

We will start with the draws of the day, which are the minority of the games.

First up is MVL facing against Gelfand. The Frenchman decided to repeat the variation that Giri used against the Israeli legend in round one, but Gelfand played his move order correctly this time and MVL didn't get more than a symbolic advantage as Gelfand said. The game ended soon after in a draw.

The Tomashevsky-Nakamura game seemed rather interesting, but in fact they were simply repeating a correspondence came from 2014. Tomashevsky presumably tested Nakamura's knowledge, which was clearly up to par. The game ended in a perpetual check that has been verified as completely sound by computers before the game even started.

Giri overstepped his limits trying to push an isolated queen's pawn position and found himself down a pawn. In the following interview Vallejo explains his decision to offer a draw:

However considering that the position was as follows:

Black is up a pawn and without any risking of really blundering anything. Even with a minute left on the clock surely Vallejo regrets not pushing this position.

Radjabov and Grischuk played a theoretical draw that had been seen before a few times. Their thoughts on memorization of draws:

Now to the juicy victories:

Hammer's Caro-Kann gave him a big edge

In the bottom board Inarkiev's 1.e4 was outclassed by Hammer's Caro-Kann. Strategically, already from a few moves out of the opening, Black's grasp on the kingside gave him a strong advantage. Hammer pushed his position forward and simplified into an endgame in which Black's beautiful knights were obviously much superior to an awkward bishop on f6:

Those are some pretty knights!

Mamedyarov annihilated Adams with a crushing attack:

[Event "FIDE Moscow Grand Prix 2017"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "2017.05.14"] [Round "3"] [White "Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar"] [Black "Adams, Michael"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E52"] [WhiteElo "2772"] [BlackElo "2747"] [Annotator "alera"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rrb3k1/4qppp/pnpb4/8/1P1Pn3/3B1N2/2Q2PPP/1RB2RK1 w - - 0 19"] [PlyCount "23"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] {[#]} 19. Bxe4 {Something has already gone wrong here for Adams. White's pressure on the entire board is clearly strong, and Black's counterplay is coming a bit late.} h6 $6 20. Re1 Qc7 $6 (20... Qf8 {is sad but necessary.} 21. Bxc6 $16) 21. Bh7+ Kf8 22. Ne5 $1 {White threatens simply Rb3 with a powerful attack on the kingside.} Nd5 $6 23. Nxf7 {A simple but effective combination} Qxf7 (23... Kxf7 24. Bg6+ Kf8 25. Re8#) (23... Nxb4 24. Nxd6 {threatens mate on e8}) 24. Bg6 Bf5 25. Bxf5 Nxb4 26. Qe4 Nd5 (26... Re8 27. Be6 Qf6 28. Rb3 { and Black is againt helpless to the rook transfer}) 27. Be6 {The game is over, the attack is too strong} Qf6 28. Rxb8+ Rxb8 29. Qh7 g5 30. Qg8+ 1-0

Salem Saleh played a beautiful game today against Nepomniachtchi. He put the Russian under pressure by sacrificing a pawn to open up his dark squared bishop and the h-file, causing real problems to the opponent's king. It is not easy to play when your king is constantly in danger, and in the following position, Nepo cracked:

Salem played a great game today

[Event "FIDE Moscow Grand Prix 2017"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "2017.05.14"] [Round "3"] [White "Nepomniachtchi, Ian"] [Black "Salem, A R Saleh"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A12"] [WhiteElo "2751"] [BlackElo "2633"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "8/1p2r1k1/2p3n1/5Q2/1PPb1P1q/5R2/7N/5B1K b - - 0 45"] [PlyCount "21"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 45... Rf7 {Clearly it is Black with the initiative, but there is nothing clear yet.} 46. Qe6 $2 (46. Qe4 Rxf4 (46... Bb6 {trying to keep some pressure. White should hold, however.}) 47. Rxf4 Qxf4 {would be just a draw, but Salem could have tried}) 46... Ne5 $1 {Nice! This tempo is crucial as White has no good way of protecting his rook} 47. Rh3 (47. fxe5 Rxf3 {is just an easy win for black, up material with the attack}) 47... Qxf4 {White is getting mated, and he doesn't even have a check} 48. Qe8 Qe4+ 49. Nf3 Rxf3 50. Qh8+ Kf7 51. Rh7+ { White hopes for a perpetual, but Salem calculates accurately that his king escapes with lethal consequences for the opponent} Ke6 52. Qc8+ Kf6 53. Qf8+ Kg5 54. Qh6+ Kf5 55. Qf8+ Kg4 0-1

Nepo has had three decisive results, all of which favored black.
Not a good thing for him, though, as he has had two whites.

Testing Svidler's knowledge of the Grunfeld isn't always a good idea. Harikrishna played into a very theoretically sharp variation, but Svidler navigated it masterfully and obtained a decisive advantage early on. Despite making his life a bit harder than it needed to be, his win was never in question.

Svidler showed, yet again, his magnificent handling of the Grunfeld

The game of the day as far as standings are concerned was certainly the Chinese duel. However, is was rather one sided. Hou Yifan's understanding of the opening was not the best, and she saw herself under pressure since then

Board one's duel was clearly in favor of Ding Liren the entire game

[Event "FIDE Moscow Grand Prix 2017"] [Site "Moscow"] [Date "2017.05.14"] [Round "3"] [White "Hou, Yifan"] [Black "Ding, Liren"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C54"] [WhiteElo "2652"] [BlackElo "2773"] [Annotator "Ramirez Alvarez,Alejandro"] [PlyCount "102"] [EventDate "2017.??.??"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. O-O O-O 6. a4 d6 7. c3 a5 8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Bg3 Kg7 {This idea of Kg7 is rather tricky. One of the main points is that the knight on f6 will be defended in certain variations.} 11. Re1 g4 12. Bh4 $5 {White sacrifices a piece, but Black is under no obligation to take it.} Ne7 $1 (12... gxf3 13. Qxf3 Be6 {and the pressure on f6 is annoying and will last quite some time. White can usually bail out with Qg3-f3 if he wants to, to force Kh7-g7.}) 13. Bxf6+ {Dragging the king to the center looks logical, but perhaps it is not best} (13. d4 Ng6 (13... Bb6 14. dxe5 { obviously doesn't work now}) 14. Nxe5 $1 (14. dxc5 gxf3 $17) 14... Nxh4 15. Nxf7 {is just a huge mess}) 13... Kxf6 14. d4 $6 Bb6 15. Nh4 Kg7 {The weird part of this position is that Black is simply better. The pair of bishops, the pressure on d4, the awkward knight on h4. It's just difficult for White to hold everything in an appropiate way. Hou Yifan decides it is time to shed some material to gain compensation.} 16. Na3 exd4 17. cxd4 Nc6 18. Nf5+ $5 Bxf5 19. exf5 h5 20. Nc2 Qf6 {The double attack was obvious, but White is hoping to create counterpressure.} 21. Re4 Qxf5 22. Bd3 Qg5 {White is fighting back, trying to create an initiative with active pieces to compensate for the pawn.} 23. g3 f5 24. Rf4 Rae8 25. h4 gxh3 26. Qf3 d5 27. Rd1 $2 (27. Rh4 $1 Kh6 $5 { and the game is still far from over}) 27... Re4 $1 {A typical but obvious sacrifice. White must accept the exchange sac but the resulting endgame is very unpleasant.} 28. Bxe4 fxe4 29. Qe3 Rxf4 30. Qxf4 Qxf4 31. gxf4 Ne7 $6 ( 31... Kf6 $1 32. Kh2 Nb4 $1 33. Nxb4 axb4 {with Kf5 coming and that is simply too many pawns.}) 32. Kh2 Ng6 33. f5 Nf4 34. f3 $6 {this gives Black another passed pawn} (34. b4 axb4 35. Nxb4 c6 36. Nc2 {at least attempts to bring the rook back into the game}) 34... c6 35. fxe4 dxe4 36. Re1 Bc7 37. Rg1+ Kf7 38. Rf1 Kf6 {Now it is really over. Black's pieces dominate and there are too many passed pawns for White to handle.} 39. Kg3 Kxf5 40. Ne3+ Kg5 41. Nc4 h4+ 42. Kf2 Nd3+ 43. Ke2 Bf4 44. Nxa5 h2 45. Nxb7 Nc1+ 46. Kf2 e3+ 47. Kg2 e2 48. Re1 Bd2 49. Rh1 Nb3 50. Kxh2 e1=Q 51. Rxe1 Bxe1 0-1

Ding Liren claims the lead in Moscow, half a point ahead of Svidler, Salem and Mamedyarov.

Round three games

Standings after three rounds

Click here for the full table

Round Four Pairings

Bo. Name FED Rtg Pts. Result Pts. Name FED Rtg
1 Ding Liren CHN 2773   2 Svidler Peter RUS 2755
2 Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2633 2   2 Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2772
3 Grischuk Alexander RUS 2750   Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2795
4 Nakamura Hikaru USA 2786   Hou Yifan CHN 2652
5 Hammer Jon Ludvig NOR 2621   Giri Anish NED 2785
6 Gelfand Boris ISR 2724   Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2696
7 Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2710   Radjabov Teimour AZE 2710
8 Adams Michael ENG 2747 1   1 Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2751
9 Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2727 ½   1 Harikrishna P. IND 2750

Live Commentary

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Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.


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